Malley denies allegations of blackmail
Miramichi MLA Michael (Tanker) Malley insisted he didn't demand anything from Lord in exchange for staying with the Progressive Conservative Party.
Malley met with reporters on his way into an education committee meeting in Fredericton. He confirmed meeting with Lord on Friday, but denied that he requested special favours from the premier. "In all honesty, I never had a list of demands. That's his version. My version. I never had a list of demands. No, I didn't make any demands," he said.
Malley quit the government last Friday, claiming to be frustrated that the concerns of his riding are being overlooked by the premier and cabinet. That decision turned a fragile majority government into a minority.
Saturday morning, Lord held a news conference and alleged that Malley made five demands to ensure he stayed in the Tory caucus.
Among other things, the premier said Malley asked for more money for his constituency office, more funding for an idled paper mill, and that Fredericton lawyer Cleveland Allaby be appointed a provincial court judge.
But Malley says none of that is true is surprised that Lord would hold a press conference based on their conversation. "The discussion that I had with the premier Friday was supposed to be between him and I. And it shouldn't have been out in the street the next day. I'm very hurt, sad, I've always been loyal to the premier and he's also my friend but having been a private discussion I never thought that it would have been out on the street."
Malley says his priority now is to represent the interests of Miramichi in the legislature. "Miramichiers are very hurt, they've been bypassed four times to be heard in cabinet."
Late Tuesday, the rift between the rogue MLA and the government appeared to be widening as yet another senior Tory waded into the fray in defence of Lord.
Terry Andow former executive director of the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick who is now chief of staff for government members said he also met with MLA Malley on Friday. Andow says Malley told him about a series of requests he wanted to present to the premier. But Andow admits he never saw the list Lord talked about on Saturday, and didn't attend the meeting between the two.
"I'm a little concerned somehow that the premier's word is being cast against Michael Malley's," Andow said.
"I guess whether you call them issues, or demands or requests, if someone comes to you and says 'I would like to have these things accomplished by no later than 1:30 or 2:00 in the afternoon,' how would one interpret them?You could only interpret them as a demand."